Mouse Mark

Mouse’s Mickey Mouse Tattoo

Actually, that is not a tattoo but rather a birth mark and the reason we call this sow Mouse. On her left shoulder she has a beauty mark that looks remarkably like Disney’s famed Mickey Mouse. Given that she was born with it I think they’ll have a hard time fighting over copyright issues and prior art.

Mighty Mouse on the Hill

Mouse is one of the two oldest sows in our herd. She was just weaned today from her latest litter which included yesterday’s red piglet named Socks. While mouse is a white pig, with some black spots, looking like a pretty typical Yorkshire, she obviously carries some recessive red genes too. Crossed with Archimedes who is also white yet carries recessive red genes they produce quite a few red and spotted piglets showing the variety in their genetic heritage.

Mouse Piglets with Finisher Pig in South Field

This week we weaned a bunch of litters. On the one hand I like leaving the piglets on the sows longer during the cold winter months because the sows produce the perfect food. At this point the piglets are also eating whey and hay but they are not as good at digesting the vegetation as their mothers who have much larger jaws, teeth and longer intestines. On the other hand, the sows are starting to get milked down and will end up peakid if we don’t wean them soon. It is a balancing act between the benefits for the piglets and the health of the mother.

Outdoors: 32째F/19째F Partially Sunny, Light Snow 1/2″
Tiny Cottage: 68째F/62째F

About Walter Jeffries

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8 Responses to Mouse Mark

  1. Sara says:

    Since you named that little red pig with white socks does that mean you will be keeping her for breeding stock? and yesterdays post someone asked about how to keep a elec. fence from grounding out. We kept a path mowed on both sides of the fence and then ran a weed eater around post and under the fence. We had horses so our fence line had to be checked every day especially during deer hunting season since they tend run through when they are spooked or shot at. I know its hard to do in brushy areas but we tried to keep a walkable path on each side. Neat pigs Walter! Wish I could have Socks! Such a pretty color.

  2. Sara,

    I don't tend to name animals unless they've been around a long time (e.g., breeders) but sometimes a pig with a very distinctive markings gets named. See this post about naming animals. Sadly Socks beautiful red color will turn almost black when she is an adult. I wish they stayed this color. It is very pretty. See this post about Big Red's color progression.

    The mower would be idea. I saw a big string trimmer, a weed eater as you say, that looks like it would work well. The problem in our part of the world is we're clinging to the side of a mountain. It is very up and down, there's a lot of brush, trees and boulders.



  3. Anonymous says:

    Mighty nice pigs!

  4. Gail in Montana says:

    Love your posts of the pigs, Walter. Too bad the little red piggies loose that red color, but that is nature for you. Thanks for sharing all your animals. Great photos!!

  5. David says:

    Walter, what is your mechanism for weaning? What physical separation and how achieved? How noisiy is weaning protested by both sides? attempted reunions? I've never raised more than a few non-breeders at a time, hope to one day.

  6. David, see here for an example of a creep setup and here for more discussion. We've done it many ways. Physical separation with mothers moving out of the space and piglets staying and then soon moving to a new familiar space works very well producing very little noise or stress. The sows moan a bit as their breast tissue hardens up with extra milk but their bodies must go through that in order to wean off. It is the back pressure that tells the glands to stop producing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I'm curious wrt how you use the "weaning". You write: "She was just weaned today & This week we weaned a bunch of litters".
    My understanding was that weaning was the process/act of stopping offspring from nursing. But you use it both as mother stops & offspring stop.

  8. Anony, Here is the dictionary definition of weaning. It applies equally well to both the sow and the piglets.

    "to withdraw (a person, the affections, one's dependency, etc.) from some object, habit, form of enjoyment, or the like"

    For the piglet it is withdrawal from getting their food from the sow (nursing).

    For the sow it is withdrawal from nursing the piglets – a process which releases hormones in her and prevent the back pressure that induces drying up and then ovulation for rebreeding.

    Both the sow and the piglets are weaned. Once this process is completed the piglets are called weaner pigs and the sow is termed dried off. Her udder, that is to say breasts, will decrease in size and become close to flush with her abdomen.

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